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Letters / Our readers speak out

>Former journalist remembers Martin

Buffalo said farewell to one of its most beloved sports stars, Richard Martin, on Thursday at HSBC Arena. Congratulations to owner, Terry Pegula, his wife Kim and the Sabres organization for creating such an extremely moving ceremony to celebrate Rico's life on and off the ice in Buffalo.

As a sports writer 30 years ago, I had the pleasure of covering the Sabres when the French Connection "owned" the city. In all my years in professional sports, Rico was, by far, my all-time favorite athlete. He always wore a smile, always had you laughing from his jokes and he always said yes to autographs and helping kids. Even with his passing, he helped others. His wife Mikey picked The Compass House to receive donations in Rick's memory.

Rico, you will be missed. Rest in peace.

Michael J. Billoni

Grand Island


>Reader not surprised by Sabres' collapse

The Buffalo News wrote, "Stunned Buffalo and its fans by scoring three times in 2:54 to hand the Sabres a 4-3 overtime loss." Stunned? I wasn't stunned. I told my wife this is exactly what would happen. This is like the movie "Groundhog Day."

I've seen this happen way to many times before. A team with a losing home record doesn't deserve to be in the playoffs. Ryan Miller also cannot handle the puck behind the net or in front and lets in way too many soft goals.

If Miller would have covered up the puck before the second goal as fast as he cowardly flew off the ice, the game would have been won. Ryan Miller, the King of Jeers.

James Ziolkowski



>Calling it poaching -- American style

As an avid sports fan, I am extremely disappointed in the News including articles that glorify the killing on any animal in its sports section. Hunting is not a sport just because a man can walk through snow carrying a high powered rifle and murder a beautiful animal cornered in a tree. What a great achievement.

I realize that hunting must occur to help control the size of certain animal populations, but mountain lions are not part of that group. Wouldn't a beautiful photograph of this animal in the wild be more satisfying to the hunter than some stuffed dead animal looking down from over his fireplace?

This is used to justify the killing of many of our most majestic animals, We criticize third world countries over poaching, but to me, the use of dogs and very powerful rifles to kill these animals is another version of poaching, just more upper class.

Mark Muchowski

Orchard Park


>It's time to end 'barbaric' hunting

I was appalled at the recent picture and article Hamburg hunter lands a big cat. It is a sad commentary in our society when species of elephant, lions, tigers, etc., have to be protected or they would be hunted to extinction just so sportsmen can have a trophy.

I have heard and read how many deer will starve each year unless they are harvested by these sportsmen. I would certainly agree in the event that an animal was killing someone's sheep or cattle an attempt should be made to either catch or capture the animal and then move them to a different location, if possible.

The mountain lion that the hunter took for his personal trophy was not endangering anyone's farm animals or household pets.

The hunter said they hunted all day Friday to Sunday, then dogs were set out on the trail and chased the mountain lion for 7 miles until the lion was treed. It was at this point that the hunter walks up and kills the animal. I ask you, is this a sport?

England finally banned the senseless slaughter of foxes chased by a pack of dogs so that men could dress up in red coats and ride their horses in the sporting fox hunt. I pray there comes a day when our states realize that the use of a pack of dogs to assist in the killing of defenseless animals is a barbaric custom that should be outlawed.

Jerry S. Kelly



>Where's the valor in mountain lion hunt?

In the sports section of Sunday's news there was a very disturbing story about a hunter, smiling, with his arms around the head of a dead mountain lion. Everything he did to chase and slaughter this beautiful creature was in his favor.

He had the guns, dogs, a guide and snow machines. All the poor lion had was the ability to run and a strong will to live. After being chased for miles and totally exhausted he climbed a tree trying to hide. But the guide and dogs soon find the terrified cat and point him out to our brave hunter. It takes a real man to shoot a defenseless creature up in a tree, with no escape possible.

This lion fought as hard as he could to live but this guy needed him to die so he could gloat about his wonderful new trophy.

What ever happened to the motto we were taught as kids, live and let live?

Barbara Baker



>Syracuse, Big East fill up on cupcakes

As a big sports fan but only an occasional basketball fan, it is obvious to me that the Big East and Syracuse University is running one of the biggest scams in all off sports. Eleven teams qualify for the NCAA tournament and after the first weekend only two remain.

Are you kidding me? As do some of the other Big East teams, Syracuse loads the beginning of its schedule with cupcakes. Not only do they play an easy schedule, they played 14 of their first 15 at home. They continue to go 15-0, con their fans and other people around the country into believing they have a top five team eventually getting a high seed in the tournament.

What happens next should be no surprise to even the most die hard followers. They are home watching the tournament with the rest of us and eight other Big East schools. Wise up, NCAA. Only allow a max of six teams from a conference and make these teams beat someone to get in. Keep the pretenders at home.

Gene Amplement



Send comments to Sports Talk, The Buffalo News, One News Plaza, P.O. Box 100, Buffalo, N.Y., 14240. Letters may also be sent via fax to 849-4587 or e-mail to Letters should be limited to 250 words and are subject to editing. Include name, hometown and a phone number for verification.

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